14th May, 2006 was the day which changed my life. I took my 1st international holiday and the destination was “Dubai – UAE.” A 3 hour journey in one of the most amazing carriers – Emirates. They know how to make you feel special and if you are flying economy or business. I could feel the spirit of this beautiful city as soon as I boarded the aircraft. I didn’t even realize how the 3 hour journey passed by as I was busy enjoying the in-flight entertainment. While the aircraft was waiting for its turn to land at terminal 1, I could see how colorful and bling the city was at night. It was then I made up my mind that this is the place where I would want to eventually settle and spend the most of my life.
After I returned from my holiday, I kept applying for jobs online and got in touch with a lot of recruitment agencies. However things never worked in my favor. It took me almost 8 years to convince myself to leave my job in India and visit UAE again in quest of something new. I took a 3 months visa and started my mission. “Mission Dubai”.
To my surprise, it took just 7 days for me to get my 1st call from Alliance Business Centers Network. I had written an email to the Chairman on LinkedIn introducing myself and stating that I would be interested in working with him, since I was working for a business center back in India. Dubai based Alliance Business Centers is a premier provider of fully serviced offices, virtual offices, executive suites conference rooms and meeting facilities in the United Arab Emirates. I was asked to meet the CEO of ABCN for an interview on 20th October 2013.
I was right in time waiting for my name to be called out. My hair was jelled and I wore my best suit. And suddenly a gentlemen almost 7 feet tall walks out of his in his heavy voice and says, “Mr. Zohair!!! My name is Sherif and I am the CEO of ABCN.”
I felt that he would eat me up but I was wrong, once the interview started all my assumptions made after that introduction changed. One of the most humble and caring person I have even met in my entire life. The meeting went on for almost 1.5 hours and there it was. My 1st offer letter to work in my dream land.
That was one of the happiest days of my life. Today, it’s been a year working with this dream team in Alliance Business Centers Network where we strive to achieve excellence and provide the best serviced offices in the Dubai, UAE.
So I’ve decided to compile the definitive guide to moving/visiting/living in Dubai. I hope this will prove to be valuable for anyone who comes across this post, especially any Indian contemplating this kind of move.
Job hunting in Dubai is quite different to the process in India. Firstly, you are competing with essentially the whole world as it’s easy to get work visas for foreigners here so little barrier to entry. Secondly, preference is usually given to those who can speak Arabic and have at least a year of Middle East work experience. Do not arrive here on a one month tourist visa thinking you’re going to get a fantastic job (it might happen but it most probably will not). If you have decided to move here make sure to register on all the main job sites prior to arriving as this will save you a week of tedious online registrations on each site.
One of the biggest differences for Indians will be tolerating the weather in Dubai. If you’re coming for just a short visit, then try get here between November and March as the weather is almost blissful and the evenings are gorgeous. Summer months (May – September) are pretty grueling as the temperature can rise as high as 50 degrees Celsius. You cannot be outside for more than 5 minutes so not exactly conducive to sightseeing or spending a day at the beach. During the summer months, most of Dubai residents can be found indoors or at the mall, enjoying the air-conditioning) The downside is not being able to spend too much time outside but the upside is never having to deal with cold weather (if you love the sun, this is the place to be).
Be prepared for the headaches though. I get insane headaches during the summer months when going from an air-conditioned room to the blistering heat outside to another air-conditioned space. The temperature change is so intense that it causes really terrible headaches.
I am a huge fan of the Dubai Marina when it comes to finding accommodation. It’s close to the metro, it has great apartment blocks, loads of restaurants and shops and a wonderful promenade where you can go for walks/runs every evening. The night views over the water are just spectacular. You can also check out JBR but I’ve heard the traffic and noise is a drawback for some people. JLT is more affordable than the marina but I find it a bit ”dead” – a bit too quiet and nothing really happening there.
If you have a big family and an apartment just will not do, then check out The Springs and Arabian Ranches. Some great townhouses (or villas as they are called here) but for me it’s just too far out. You will need a car as they are not situated close to the metro and it will get pricey with taking taxis all the time.
On the topic of transportation, unless you need a car for work, you can actually get away without owning a car here. If you find an apartment close to the metro or if you live a short taxi drive away from work, no need to buy a car. If you’re here as a couple or family then yes at least one car is a must but not really two cars.
Overall, living in Dubai is quite an adventure filled with highs and lows but it does make for an unforgettable experience. There is wayyyyy more to living here than what I have written so if you ever need advice about moving or living in Dubai, feel free to get in touch.